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Tech Talk Live Blog

Linking Multiple Documents with an Auto-Generated Number in OnBase

Shawn Mellinger


As with many other organizations, we use OnBase for Enterprise Content Management. One of our processes involves a form that is linked to many other uploaded documents, and it posed a specific problem. This blog will cover the issue I ran into with forms and identification, as well as some of the processes we went through to fix the issue.

The specific business process called for a form to be completed and several documents to be uploaded concurrently with the form. In concept, I needed to generate an identifying ID for the form and use that as a common keyword for the form and any uploaded documents that should be linked. Once that ID number was assigned to the form, each uploaded document could inherit the ID number and thus all could be cross-referenced when the form was retrieved.

I began by setting the ID number from the form properties in workflow. I copied the document ID property into my ID number keyword. I knew that the document ID was auto-generated by OnBase for each document, thus was guaranteed to be unique. However, in practice I found that the document ID property was not being set until the form was saved. When the form was being filled out, the document ID was blank. This meant that any uploaded documents were inheriting a blank ID number and could not be cross-referenced.

The next iteration used an Auto Number keyword. This keyword would automatically increment from the last number assigned and guarantee a unique ID number. However, I found that I could not use that auto number keyword to link documents. The auto number was generated anew for each document, and so the form would have a different ID than its associated uploaded documents. Again, this meant that cross-referencing between the form and its documents would not work.

The final solution was a mix of both attempts. I created a custom action in the form that copied the auto number into the ID number keyword. This allowed the form and its documents to be linked using that ID number. When the form was created, it created a new auto number in that keyword. This number was copied to the ID number. As associatedthe same ID number.

As you can see, trying to maintain a unique ID number for a form in OnBase can be tricky. After some thought and testing, using the combination of an auto-generated keyword and separate ID number keyword proved to be our ideal solution for unique ID numbers. Your situation may call for a different variation of this solution; however, this blog can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that I encountered.

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